ChristmasMy big, beautiful 7 foot tall Christmas tree is sitting at the end of the driveway this morning waiting for the garbage truck. Every December, for almost a decade, it graced a prominent spot in our living room all decked out with glittery gold and brilliant red ornaments. But not this year.

Yesterday afternoon I drug it out of the storage closet in the garage. I cleared the spot in front of the window and set up the stand. I stumbled in with the heavy bottom section, wrangled it into the slot in the stand and fanned out the branches. One fell off onto the floor. Oh well, just one. I could fluff to fill that spot.

Then I plugged it in to test the lights. Only about a fourth of them worked. After trying in vain to get the rest working I made a difficult decision. It was time to retire the tree. We had hoped to get one more season out of our old friend, but alas, it was not to be.

With a sigh I carried the prickly base back out to the garage then out the open door and down the driveway to the edge of the street. Soon I had the tree bag and all the other sections out there too.

I had been vacillating on whether or not to even put up the big tree this year. This is our “off” year with our grown children. They were all here for Thanksgiving. They will be with the in-laws for Christmas. But I love the festive red and gold ornaments. I couldn’t imagine the season without them twinkling at me every time I pass through the room.

Yes, I could run out and buy another big tree. But since we will be moving some time in 2017 it doesn’t make sense to buy a new tree before we know where we will be living.

Briefly I contemplated going the “no tree” route. In the end I decided to put the 4-foot tree that usually goes in my office in the living room. We call it the “outdoor tree” because we decorate it with woodsy ornaments and top it with feathers. It’s a tribute to my husband’s hobbies.

I put the wreaths on the front doors and hung the stockings on the fireplace. Done. Anyone who knows me knows that this is a fraction of the decorating I usually do. Normally “Christmas” shines in every corner.

Last night as I sat and looked at the outdoor tree, I really missed my big, beautiful red and gold creation. But this morning I have decided to take a step back and refocus.

I could make this year’s “scaled back” version of Christmas an opportunity to focus on the more important things of the season. Less decorating and more sharing. Less cleaning and more loving. Less me and lots more Jesus.

Ah, that’s what it should be all about anyway. Christmas. More Jesus.

In what ways have you lost focus on Jesus in Christmases past? How can you refocus on Jesus this year?

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